Reebok are ready to become a global contender when it comes to sustainable fashion. We are seeing more fashion brands look to plants as a source for their latest product innovations. Now the global fitness brand Reebok is following this trend and will bring plant based footwear to the market later this year. Known as the “Cotton + Corn” initiative, the company have teamed up with Du Pont Tate & Lyle Bio Products, a leading manufacturer of high performance bio-based solutions. “We like to say, we are ‘growing shoes’ here at Reebok,” said Bill McInnis, Head of Reebok Future. The first plant-based trainer will be made from organic cotton with an industrial grown corn base.
“Ultimately, our goal is to create a broad selection of bio-based footwear that can be composted after use. We’ll then use that compost as part of the soil to grow the materials for the next range of shoes. We want to take the entire cycle into account; to go from dust to dust,” according to McInnis.
Reebok ( @Reebok ) became a subsidiary of adidas in 2005. The company was originally founded in 1958 and has since then become a global sports brand. The name is Afrikaans for the grey rhebok, a type of African antelope, after the founder’s grandson won a South African dictionary in a running race. Reebok is still hugely popular across the world, with a seven percent increase in revenue last year proving the real potential to influence consumers.
Reebok’s parent company adidas launched a range of trainers made from upcycled marine plastic. Working alongside an environmental group called Ocean Parley they have produced 7,000 pairs of trainers made from ocean waste. But this is not all, they have also created the first football jersey made from upcycled marine debris which was debuted by Bayern Munich and Real Madrid towards the latter half of 2016. However, Reebok, is using a novel bio-based solution derived by corn.
“We like to say, we are ‘growing shoes’ here at Reebok.”
The Cotton & Corn initiative concentrates on all three phases of the product lifestyle. First with product development; using materials that grow and can be replenished. Secondly, ensuring that the footwear performs just as well as petroleum-based materials without sacrificing on the look that consumers love. And finally, focusing on what happens to the products after use.
However, this initiative could not have been achieved alone. Reebok has partnered with DuPont Tate & Lyle Bio Products to use their Susterra propanediol. It is a pure, petroleum-free, non-toxic, 100 percent USDA certified bio-based product, derived from field corn. This will be used to create the sole of the Cotton + Corn shoes.
“Reebok’s philosophy is to ‘Be More Human,’ and sustainability is a core part of that belief. “As human beings, we have a responsibility to leave this planet as we found it for future generations,” said Reebok President Matt O’Toole. “Unfortunately, the fact is most shoes just end up in landfills, which is something we are trying to change. As a brand, we will be focusing on sustainability with the Cotton + Corn program as well as other initiatives we have in the works.”
The Reebok Future team is Reebok’s innovation department dedicated to creating new technologies, ideas, techniques and prototypes. Reebok prides its long history of innovation and being a “socially responsible company.” It is hoped that Cotton + Corn based shoes will have a long-term positive impact on the world, and the innovation team will continue to redefine the process by which it makes footwear.
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